Follow me as I dive into the world that is cooking! There will be mishaps, burns and feasts as you watch my progression from college-student fare (pizza rolls and ramen noodles) to (hopefully) goddess of the hearth! I am always open to new recipes and ideas, so feel free to contact me.

August 23, 2011

Sexy Chicken and Eggplant Parmesan

This is a meal I usually make when I feel the need to amp things up a bit.  Light some candles on the dinner table, bust out your favorite red, whip up a simple Caesar salad and enjoy this dish.  Seriously.  It might even enhance your love life; who knows.  I like to finish it all off with a lemon sorbet, a whipped chocolate mousse, or something light to contrast the heaviness of this course.
It takes a little bit of broiling, some layering and is a little higher budget than I normally go with meals.  Maybe that's what makes it special, that and its sumptuous presence on my plate and pallet.  Regardless, it is enjoyable. If you aren't convinced that this might rock your world by now, then shame on you!
Use fresh ingredients on this one.  Hand-grate the Parmesan cheese, use fresh basil, and organic (still canned) tomatoes.  It makes a difference!  If basil isn't in season, you can use a teaspoon of dried marjoram and add it with the salt.  Don't use dried basil though!  It just isn't the same. 

Sexy Chicken and Eggplant Parmesan
Adapted from Food & Wine "Quick from Scratch Chicken Cookbook"
Takes:  10 mins prep, 30 mins cook, 5 mins rest time
Makes:  4 servings

You Need:
  • 1 small eggplant (1 lb), cut to 1/4" rounds
  • 4 Tbsp+ olive oil
  • Salt
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (roughly 3)
  • 2 C canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (If you can't find thick puree, you can use a 6-oz can of tomato paste in its place mixed with one 15-oz can crushed tomatoes, but add a bit more salt. I prefer it with the thick puree.)
  • 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, cut into thin slices as best you can
  • 1/3 C freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 C lightly packed basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • a few small basil leaves, for garnish (optional)
1.  Preheat broiler.  On a large baking sheet, place eggplant in a single layer and using a basting brush, coat both sides of eggplant with about 3 Tbsp of olive oil.  Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Broil about 5 minutes per side, turning once, until browned.  Turn off broiler and preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2.  In a large nonstick pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat.  Season chicken breasts with a bit of salt and pepper and add to the pan.  When it's cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes later, cut the chicken crosswise into thin 1/4-inch strips.  The middle will still be raw, but don't sweat it!

3.  Grease an 8-inch square baking dish with some olive oil on a paper towel.  Or butter it if you're feeling indulgent.  Put a third of the eggplant in the dish in a single layer.  Top it with half the chicken, half of the tomato, half of the mozzarella, a third of the Parmesan, half of the chopped basil, and a dash of salt.  Repeat with another third of eggplant, the rest of the chicken, tomato, mozzarella, another third of Parm, and remaining chopped basil.  Top with the rest of the eggplant and sprinkle with the rest of the Parmesan.  Drizzle a 1/2 tablespoon of oil over this.  Bake for 20 minutes (make your salad during baking time!) and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing and consuming wholeheartedly.  You can top with small leaves of fresh basil if you so feel the need.

1 comment:

  1. This looks so great! The photography is stunning as well!